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M Matomela: Eastern Cape Education Prov Budget Vote 2006/07

6 Jun 2006
Budget Vote of Department of Education Eastern Cape Provincial
Government delivered by MEC Mkhangeli Matomela

6 June 2006

MEC: Education
Honourable M Matomela
Madam Speaker and Deputy Speaker
Honourable Premier
Honourable Members of the Executive Council
Honourable Members of the Provincial Legislature
Other dignitaries and distinguished guests
Departmental and other officials
Ladies and gentlemen

Introduction

Molweni; Sanbonani, Khotso, Goeie Dag, Good day to all of you. It is my
privilege and honour to rise to present my budget and policy speech for
Education for the financial year 2006/07. As the Honourable Premier indicated
last year and in her State of the province Address on 9 February 2006,
Education continues to be one of the key focus areas of her Administration.
Indeed so, Education does not only consume nearly half of the provincial
budget, it is the biggest employer in the province and also encounters the
biggest challenges, but Education also has the biggest footprint of all
departments with more than 6,300 schools and other institutions in nearly every
community across our vast province. In addition to that, education remains
close to our people’s hearts. It is the key that unlocks the doors of
opportunity and a better life for our people and people all over the world. A
number of globally renowned figures, including a son of our soil, utata Nelson
Mandela, concur with the importance of education. To Dr Mandela: “Education is
the most powerful weapon to change the world!” We therefore appeal to all
learners, educators, parents and other stakeholders in this province: Let us do
everything in our power this year to make quality learning and teaching our top
priority! This is the theme of my speech. There is no doubt in my mind of the
centrality and importance of Education, if we succeed in getting Education
right it will have a positive ripple effect across the whole province, in other
words if Education succeeds the province succeeds!. The Honourable Premier
implies this in her State of the province Address a month ago.

Madam Speaker, we as families at the end of the calendar year all await the
annual matric results with enormous expectation and even in some cases
trepidation. We all share in the joy and disappointment of the matric results
of one or more of our relatives, whether a son, daughter, cousin, niece, nephew
or grand child, in other words, to paraphrase what an official said at the
announcement of the matric results function on 29 December 2005: “Nothing
affects our people so profoundly than the announcement of matric results; not
even Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment!” Equally so, Education is one of
the key tools through which we can realise one of our key responsibilities
thrust on us by our Constitution, i.e. that the State should work towards
releasing the full human potential of every citizen. Or in the words of
Aristotle: “All who have meditated on the art of mankind (or more politically
correct these days humankind) have been convinced that the fate of empires
depends on the education of youth.”

Honourable President Thabo Mbeki, in his State of the Nation Address at the
opening of the third democratic Parliament of South Africa in May 2004 outlined
in clear and unambiguous terms the marching orders of Government for the next
five years. Government committed itself to opening the doors of education for
all and focusing on raising skills, driven by a clear understanding of the
developmental tasks of our democratic state. The Honourable President in his
State of Nation Address on 3 February 2006, quoted utata Mandela’s call in 1994
that “we must, constrained by and yet regardless of the accumulated effect of
our historical burdens, seize the time to define ourselves, what we want to
make of our shared destiny”. We would be so bold to say that for us this call
by the former President about defining ourselves, “what we want to make of our
shared destiny”, cannot be divorced from how we view education, training and
skills development in this province. My profound concern is that not all
stakeholders, educators, learners, parents, officials, School Governing
Bodies(SGB) and labour unions, seem to realise that Education is key to a
brighter future, that it is the foundation to a better life for all our people!
Social dialogue with all education stakeholders is imperative we will again
return to this point later.

As we prepare for 2006, honourable members, we note that indeed the doors of
learning and culture are now opening for our learners at a much faster pace. It
is clear that the aspirations and dreams of our ancestors and elders who
gathered at Kliptown on that historic day, 26 June 1955, to adopt the Freedom
Charter are now more fully being realised. Let us be reminded that educational
institutions in the Eastern Cape have a proud record of producing leaders for
South and Southern Africa, and it is the responsibility of all of us in the
province with the assistance of National Government to do everything in our
power to ensure that education is adequately resourced in order for it to make
its rightful contribution and enjoy pride of place in all our endeavours.

In positioning the Eastern Cape at the cutting edge of education delivery it
is critical to ensure that we have productive, skilled and healthy people who
are needed for developing sustainable communities. My Department and I are
committed to social dialogue with all education stakeholders to achieve quality
learning and teaching. We cannot do it alone. That is why we convened a
Consultative Education Summit from 13 to 15 July 2005 to consolidate public
support for our five-year plan as part of the resolutions of the broader Public
Sector and the Growth and Development Summits convened by the Premier. The
Education Consultative Summit’s outcomes constitute the basis of the strategic
goals and objectives in the Transformation Agenda of the Department of
Education for 2005 to 2014 and the Department’s revised five-year plan.
Approximately 250 delegates from most of the education stakeholders attended
the Education Summit at the Education Leadership Institute in Stirling, East
London.

Consideration will be given to the Portfolio Committee’s proposal of having
a Mini-Summit or workshop and a fully-fledged Summit every other year. The
Mini-Summit or workshop is to review progress made with the implementation of
the Summit resolutions and the discussion of other salient issues in the
Education Sector. We furthermore intend to communicate and meet regularly with
all stakeholders in Education in the province such as School Governing Boards
(SGBs), the SGB Association, education fora, student organisations and
educators formations on matters of mutual interest.

The Transformation Agenda constitutes our statement of policy intent in
terms of the strategic goals1 it outlines, seeks to foster an in-depth
understanding of the circumstances which have defined the course of the
Department over the last decade, and the challenges which must be overcome if
its transformation agenda for the next ten years is to be realised. The key
transformational issues affecting education are issues of access, unemployment,
imbalance in employability among youth, the social issues affecting schools and
society, and the role played by language and technology in promoting balance in
opportunity and access to quality education. These are the issues that feed the
agenda of transformation. The Strategic and Annual Performance Plans take these
issues as its baseline and translates the strategic goals into strategic
objectives, measurable objectives, performance measures and performance
targets, and assigns responsibility to the relevant Chief Directorates.

These plans are also an expression of our commitment to participate in the
other Provincial Growth and Development Plan (PGDP) priorities such as:
agrarian transformation and food security, including the comprehensive
nutrition programme; fighting poverty, which includes the Expanded Public Works
Programme, the capital projects of the different Departments and HIV and AIDS;
public sector transformation focusing on service delivery in the main social
service delivery departments; infrastructure development; manufacturing
diversification and tourism; and human resource development. The latter seeks
to address the skills shortages in government, the educational programmes of
Further Education and Training (FET), Adult Basic Education and Training
(ABET), Early Childhood Education (ECD) and a comprehensive Human Resource
Development (HRD) strategy and learnership programmes. Good progress is being
made in achieving national 2006 and relevant PDGP priorities, which will be
reported on later.

The Department collaborates with other Provincial Government Departments and
structures in the three provincial Clusters, especially the Social Needs
Cluster, in pursuing these priorities. We will work with other members of this
and other Clusters in pursuing integrated planning, budgeting, service
delivery, as well as pooling of resources and capabilities since we believe
Government can achieve much more with its available resources in this way. In
addition to this, we shall continue to engage all stakeholders and social
partners in the planning and delivery of our programmes. My Department and I
will also work closely with the four Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in
the province to more effectively harness their expertise and specialised skills
to the best advantage of the Department and the province.

Madam Speaker, it is helpful for the sake of context to sketch the current
environment in which my Department has to deliver its services before we share
with the House significant achievements and programmes undertaken in the
financial year, of which we are approaching the end, and initiatives and
programmes, we will continue with in the new financial year.

Current service delivery environment in the Eastern Cape

The Eastern Cape is the largest Provincial Education Department in terms of
the number of schools to be administered, and the second largest, behind
KwaZulu-Natal, in terms of the number of educators and learners. According to
the Education Management Information System (EMIS) statistics compiled in the
Department of Education, the Provincial education system in 2005 comprised
6,304 public schools. Of these, 880 are High Schools, 2 553 Combined or Junior
Secondary Schools; 2 593 Primary schools; 42 schools for Learners with Special
Educational Needs (LSEN); and 236 State subsidised Early Childhood Development
(ECD) centres, with many more of these centres being run as community and
private facilities. The same data revealed that there were 2 184 103
learners in public ordinary schools in 2005. Of these, 104 929 were pre-primary
learners in grade R and 7 466 were learners in public ordinary schools with
special educational needs. There were a further 9 072 learners in special
schools.

The same statistics show that there were 62 765 educators in public ordinary
schools in 2005, of which 18 445 were in primary schools, 13,850 were in
secondary schools and 30 470 were in high schools. There were 842 educators in
special schools. In-spite of significant progress, there are still major
backlogs in school infrastructure. In 2005, 2,608 schools (41%) did not have
electricity and 1 888 schools (29%) did not have pipe-borne water. In the same
year, 939 schools (14.8%) were identified as mud structures needing
replacement. Most of these schools are in the former Transkei.

School performance in terms of internal efficiency and academic success is
less than desirable. In 2004 the average repetition rate was 9%, and exceeded
20% at the senior grades (grades 10-12) in many of the most disadvantaged
Districts. Appropriately-aged enrolment averaged only 31%, with over-aged
enrolment particularly high, averaging 50%. The school participation rate for
designated age cohorts is well below 100% and decreases significantly at the
higher grades. The matric pass rate for the province has been consistently low,
with the lowest pass rate of any province in 2005. These results are not
without their reasons, and the true accounts of the factors that give rise to
these circumstances are generally hidden and not subject to public discourse.
An analysis of this and other available information, however, reveals a picture
of inequity, disadvantagement, and under-resource; and it highlights the
effects of poverty, history and marginalisation on the performance of Education
in the province.

There are 8 FET Colleges in the province which, in 2004, had a headcount
enrolment of 34 854 with 845 educators. There are also four Higher Education
Institutions (HEIs) in the province with a headcount enrolment of 64 641 in
2004. However progression from high schools to further and higher education is
very low. In 2002 for example, 34 069 of the 65 661 grade 12 learners passed
matric (52%), 5 249 with an exemption enabling them to enter higher education.
But only 5 451 learners entered a HEI and 1 703 entered an FET college the next
year. This meant that only 21% of learners who were able to enter formal
further or higher education in fact did so. This problem is compounded when one
examines the throughput of the higher education system. In 2000, the drop out
rate from Provincial HEIs was 20% in the first year, with only 15% of the
designated year group graduating after four years. A significant number of
learners from disadvantaged groups cannot complete their studies because of
financial reasons. Significant events and programmes undertaken during 2005 and
to be continued

Learner Attainment Strategy

Honourable members, during the academic year 2005, we saw an increase in the
matric results from 53.5% in 2004 to 56.7% or by 3.2% Of the 69 869 candidates
who sat for the examination 39 607 passed. Although we were again at the back
of the queue, as the Honourable Premier put it, the significance of our modest
increase is that other provinces experienced a drop in their pass rates as the
exams were more difficult than in previous years. This was, as a result of
continued investment in supplementary and intervention programmes. But, we need
to move the 391 schools which attained pass rates below 50% in 2005 to pass
rates above 50% from this year onwards. Madam Speaker, I do not want to be
over-ambitious and my Department and I are therefore committing us to an
overall 5% increase in the matric pass rate for 2006. However, we believe if
all Education stakeholders in the province give their full co-operation to
myself and my Department we can exceed 5%. But we also have to address the
quality of exams and move closer to the national average matric pass rate of
70%. The pass rate in other grades also needs to be addressed and Continuous
Assessment (CASS) will be key in doing this.

Interventions for the 2006 academic year in accordance with the Learner
Attainment Strategy (LAS) for all under-performing schools under the leadership
of Honourable Minister Pandor include a number of initiatives to be
co-ordinated and integrated provincially and overseen nationally, but which
have been compiled on an individual school, Circuit, District and Provincial
basis. Each District Office should have on file the LAS for individual schools.
All these plans stress the promotion of reading, writing and Mathematics.
Principals will be assisted in implementing the LAS through regular support and
reports by District and Provincial Education officials. The District Directors
and their staff will pay purposeful and structured visits to each of these
schools at least twice a quarter in each of the Districts to monitor hours of
learning and teaching.

Furthermore, audits of textbooks and reading books will be conducted in the
selected schools with a view to provide a minimum of one textbook per learner
for each subject or learning area, and 100 reading books in every Foundation
Phase classroom. Common provincial mid-year examinations for Grade 10, 11 and
12 learners will be conducted in secondary schools included in the Strategy,
and formal reports provided to the Provincial Office. All under-performing
Districts will organise winter and spring schools for Grade 11 and 12 learners
and will be supported in key subjects such as Mathematics, Physical Science and
English, in conjunction with appropriate non-governmental organisations (NGOs)
in the province. Three-year plans (2006 – 2008) for teacher development and
curriculum training are being drawn up and will focus particularly on the
content of the learning areas and subjects.

Madam Speaker, in addition to moving the pass rates of as many schools as is
humanly possible to above the 50% mark, a Turnaround Plan, as a focused
intervention for failing Secondary schools that attained a matric results below
20%, has been developed with profiles that include qualifications, experience,
training and assessment history of the principals of such schools, as well as
compiling a list of the responsible Education Development Officers (EDOs) or
Circuit Managers. These principals and EDOs have been summoned to a meeting to
account for their school’s performance, and it was made absolutely clear to
them that the primary responsibility for the turnaround of at their schools
rests with them as the school and Circuit Managers. Coaches and mentors such as
retired principals are being recruited through an expression of interest
advertisement and will be appointed to work with these principals. The whole
school evaluation framework will furthermore be employed to assess the basic
functionality of each school, whilst the principals will have to attend short
courses in the use of the principals’ manual.

But where appropriate, however, my Department is looking into instituting
incapacity proceedings. Various other innovative and tried and tested methods
will be pursued such as twinning of schools that achieved good results with
those that performed poorly.

We will also be implementing a project to employ excellent educators like Mr
Jili in the Umzimkulu District who succeeded in taking his school’s Mathematics
results from 9.2% to 92%. The employment of more EDOs and Subject Advisors this
year will undoubtedly strengthen the control and oversight or monitoring and
evaluation system. But in the end, honourable members, after all is said and
done we have to hold our principals accountable as the school managers for the
performance of their schools.

Local economic development and educational provisioning

Madam Speaker, let me inform you of an initiative that is very close to my
heart and in line with the PGDP and pro-poor policy of our Government. We are
also of the opinion that this programme addresses a niche in the Accelerated
and Shared Growth Initiative (AsgiSA) to bridge the gap between the First and
Second Economy. Social issues like poverty and unemployment significantly
impact on our learners; it is for instance not possible to effectively teach a
hungry or malnourished child, for her or him to do well at school or reach
their full potential. We are therefore very pleased that the Department will be
embarking shortly on an initiative called ‘Local Economic Development and
Educational Provisioning’ to make a more significant contribution towards
poverty alleviation and employment creation in the province by targeting
community co-operatives as service providers in procuring goods and
services.

I regard these co-operatives as more effective vehicles for broad based
black economic empowerment and moral regeneration as they are rooted in the
indigenous culture of ilima/letsema, which cuts across community services such
as ploughing, harvesting, sheep shearing and firewood collection (ibhoxo). We
sincerely believe that the co-operative principles and practices of caring,
sharing, solidarity and community or public service can begin to roll back and
eventually overcome the moral decay prevalent in our society today, of which
fraud, greed and selfishness are a few. But, honourable members we need to
alert you that there are indications that teachers and other individuals and
groups are mobilising to hijack this initiative meant for the poor and
unemployed. We appeal to you please help us to thwart these despicable
efforts/intentions.

This initiative is also based on co-operative governance and
community-public-private partnership, and it will realise my vision of schools
becoming ‘centres of community life’. In a concept paper drafted by the Nelson
Mandela Unit for Rural Schooling and Development at Fort Hare University eight
markets have been identified in educational provisioning e.g. school nutrition,
scholar transport, school furniture making & repairs, school building &
maintenance, school uniforms, learner-teacher support material,
information-communications technologies (ICTs) and educational toys. The
Provincial Executive Council (EXCO) adopted our recommendation that this
initiative be rolled out to other provincial departments and institutions and
that the Department of Economic Affairs, Environment and Tourism be the Lead
Department in implementing the initiative in the province. The high level of
poverty (63.6% of households) and 53.7% unemployment in the province indicates
the extent of the prevalence of the Second Economy epitomised by market failure
which demands effective government intervention.

Infrastructure

Despite the top-slicing of R550 million from the Eastern Cape Department of
Education’s (ECDoE) budget this financial year, honourable members, which
adversely affected infrastructure provisioning and maintenance of existing
buildings, the available budget allocation made possible the following
infrastructure investment to date: 25 new schools, 45 additional classrooms,
water tanks and toilets at 120 schools, electricity at 55 schools, through the
EPWP 87 schools received three additional classrooms each and sanitation.
Furthermore, maintenance was done in more than 100 schools and 15 mud
structures replaced. By the end of January 2006, 77% of the budget was spent,
and targeted interventions to accelerate spending embarked upon since July 2005
will ensure that no under-expenditure on this budget item occurs in this
financial year.

Construction commences in 2006 of 116 brick and mortar schools and an audit
is being carried out to determine the state of existing furniture, furniture to
be fixed and furniture needed for schools. The Department will receive an
amount of R642.638 million in the new financial year more than the current
budget for infrastructure, and R61.611 million for furniture up from R54.8
million in the 2005/06 fiscal year. A minimum of R2.3 billion will be in the
budget for infrastructure in this MTEF cycle. This is the biggest chunk (44.2%)
of the total provincial infrastructure investment of R5.2 billion over the next
three years. This kind of investment will go a long way towards eradicating the
backlog in the building of new and maintenance of existing schools, and
providing much needed jobs.

An amount of R71.971 million is available to replace mud structures, a
tentative amount of R10 million for schools destroyed/damaged in disasters, R8
million for water and sanitation and R3 million for electrification of schools.
In the 2007/08 financial year a minimum of R58.464 million and in the 2008/09
R282.476 million will be available for replacing mud structures. We will engage
the MEC for Roads, Transport and Safety & Security, the Honourable Mhlahlo,
to discuss the urgent need for access roads and bridges to some of our rural
schools, which become inaccessible during the rainy seasons. Efficient scholar
transport is also adversely affected by the absence of proper roads. But other
problems around scholar transport are receiving my Department’s urgent
attention. The budget allocation for 2006/07 for scholar transport for both
primary and secondary schools will total R35 588 199, which is an increase
of R21 878 199 or 159.58%.

The current backlog in the construction of new schools and additional
classrooms and the maintenance of existing infrastructure amounts to R15
billion, This amount could create 210,000 much-needed jobs if one uses the
conventional construction industry norm; that is nearly a quarter of the number
of unemployed people in our province. Should the labour-intensive approach of
the Expanded Public Works Programme be employed in for instance earth moving
before new buildings are constructed, even more jobs could be created. The
problem of poor construction and maintenance of buildings, lack of furniture
and poor quality furniture provided to schools by existing suppliers is
receiving urgent attention. We want community co-ops to make and repair school
furniture in the new financial year and will also involve other organisations
like Mvula Trust for instance to assist us. With reference to the associated
issue of rationalisation of primary and secondary schools, the re-alignment of
schools from Grades R to 7 as junior phase and Grades 8 to 12 as senior phase
in line with the national guideline will receive attention in the 2006/07
financial year. The process followed to identify sites for new schools will in
particular be attended to.

Recapitalisation of Further Education and Training Colleges

When we report on the recapitalisation of FET colleges, honourable members,
the pivotal role of these institutions needs to be emphasised in skills
development without which the country will not achieve the 6% economic growth
target proposed by the ASGISA to half poverty and unemployment by 2014 or 2015
in terms of the Millennium Development Goals of the United Nations. This is
generally acknowledged by all, including Honourable Deputy President Phumzile
Mlambo-Ngcuka who drives ASGISA on behalf of Government. To ensure that FET
colleges provide learners with skills required by the domestic economy, the
National Department, including Provincial Departments of Education, and
relevant stakeholders have embarked on a programme to recapitalise these
colleges. National Education will provide an amount of R255.55 million out of
the total cost of approximately R500 million towards the cost of upgrading
administration blocks and other physical infrastructure at the eight colleges
in the province with a total of twenty five campuses. A total provincial budget
allocation of R267.965 million will be available, of which R61 million has been
set aside as a conditional grant for the 2006/07 financial year to kick-start
the recapitalisation of FET colleges in this province.

It is envisaged that the current enrolment of 34 854 at FET colleges has to
be up-scaled to 100 000 or 65.14% by 2014, that means an additional 6,515
enrolments annually for the next ten years. However, the negative attitude of
members of our society towards technical vocational education and training
poses a serious barrier to achieve this target. But my recent visit to Germany,
the third largest economy in the world and one of the most technologically
advanced nations in the world, made me realise that one can and must overcome
this unjustified prejudice towards technical vocational education and training.
As some of the honourable members might be aware, our province has a twinning
agreement with the Lower Saxony Government signed in 1995 and a study group of
my Department visit Hannover in Germany last month, after a visit by Mr Bernd
Busemann, my counterpart in the Lower Saxony Department of Education in
November last year. His Department donated network servers to link our FET
colleges and the Head Office of my Department.

One way of addressing our people’s attitude towards technical vocational
education and training is to have a seamless transition between FET colleges
and higher learning institutions (HEIs) or universities, like in parts of
Germany, vocational education and training should enable learners, who want to
do it, to have such education and training accredited by HEIs and allow them to
further their studies in engineering and other fields at universities. We are
convinced that the high drop out rate from provincial HEIs of 20% in the first
year, with only 15% of the designated year group graduating after four years,
can be effectively addressed if learners/students follow this trajectory.

We are also seriously considering giving preference in awarding bursaries to
learners who first want to pursue their studies at FET colleges as another way
of changing mindsets in this regard. It is critical for instance, that more
technologists and artisans i.e. bricklayers, carpenters, electricians,
plasterers and plumbers are trained in future to enable us to increase
infrastructure investment in the province and ensure that job seekers are
equipped with the skills sets required by our growing economy. Mr Chuma Mbande
of Coega Development Corporation suggested at the recent Provincial Job Summit
that 2 400 learnerships are needed annually up to 2010 in our province to meet
the demand. We think his figure is somewhat conservative, given the huge
infrastructure investment that will take place over the next five years in the
country. The Department and I need to meet with the Department of Labour and
all stakeholders in the construction industry soonest to agree on the required
targets. The Lower Saxony Education Department and their vocational education
and training institutions, as well as the Canadian International Development
Agency are more than willing to assist our FET colleges in world class
vocational education and training. As you are aware, we visited Canada in June
2005 and they will particularly assist us in curriculum innovation and
co-operative education or community outreach.

Our FET colleges will also play a key role in skills development of members
of community co-operatives and enterprises to be targeted for procuring goods
and services in order to stimulate local economic development and growth in the
economically depressed (or Second Economy) areas of the province. We are
looking into linking ABET and FET programmes to ensure that our people are
equipped with the skills required by our growing economy. We cannot continue to
provide adult learners with skills not needed in the economy.

School Nutrition Programme (SNP)

The management of the SNP has improved significantly, Madam Speaker. My
Department was able to spend the full allocation made initially and an
additional amount of R43 million was made available in the Adjustment of
Expenditure Estimates. The roll-out of a new transformational model for
delivery of the programme has begun, which entails exploring the employment of
community co-operatives to manage and supply food to schools. These
co-operatives will first be registered under the new Cooperatives Act 2005 (Act
No. 14 of 2005) as legal or juristic persons, like companies under the Company
Act, and then on the Logistical Information System (Logis) service
provider/supplier of the Department. The Act provides for primary, secondary
and tertiary co-ops.

The Department has a budget allocation of R234.994 million for the SNP in
2006/07 and will be providing meals to learners every day of the week and not 3
days a week as was the case last year. Extensive advocacy is being done to
establish co-operatives to be service providers. Advocacy and lobbying for food
production (fruit trees, vegetables) will be conducted as well as the survey of
the sustainable potential for food production initiatives at all participating
schools. From April 2006 cooked meals will be served to primary school
learners. Schools are encouraged to establish food gardens.

The school plays an important role in preparing learners for the future.
Children are taught the principles of healthy eating as part of the school
programme. It is therefore important that the school environment support this
learning by promoting nutrition. On my recent visit to the African Hebrew
Israelite community in Dimona, Israel, the importance of healthy eating for
holistic living and health for us as human beings was once again impressed upon
me. They are into organic food production which means they don’t use any
chemical soil enrichment products or compost. This community agreed to assist
our province in this regard and they briefed EXCO on this and their broader
concept of local economic development on their recent visit.

The Department is providing supplementary meals to learners to deal with
poverty alleviation. It aims at improving learners’ active learning capacity
and therefore increases school achievement, attendance and punctuality and to
encourage sustainable food production towards job creation and economic
improvement. The Department currently employs 5 800 meal servers. The School
Nutrition Programme can contribute more to employment creation than it has done
so far. In addition to food gardens at schools and our mothers serving cooked
meals to learners, it can stimulate agricultural production. I want more of our
local mammas in the lalies (villages), towns and cities and the unemployed
youth in the province to produce the bread, vegetables, fruit, meat and
milk.

The latter co-ops can, if they do not deliver meals and caterers, transport
learners to and from ekhaya in the mornings and afternoons. These primary
co-ops can structure themselves into secondary and the secondary co-ops into
tertiary co-ops that look after their finance, marketing, advertising,
procurement and other logistical requirements. When it comes to the
construction of schools a provincial-wide tertiary co-op in this sector is for
instance needed for earth-moving works which is capital intensive and requires
economies of scale to be economically viable. Primary and even secondary co-ops
will not have the financial resources for this kind of investment. The SNP,
together with the nutrition programmes of other departments like Health and
Social Development, should be able to achieve the economies of scale the
Massive Food Programme under the leadership of Agriculture requires. This being
a predominantly agriculturally based province a significant contribution to job
creation in line with the PGDP objective can be made through combining our
efforts.

Adult Basic Education and Training

The available budget for this programme is R149.775 million for the 2006/07
fiscal year. According to annual General Household Survey for 2004, honourable
members, 15.7% (1 103 645) out of a population of 7 029 588 in the
province could not read and write. The situation calls for a stepped-up
literacy programme to be put in place so that the PGDP is met to improve
literacy by 50% by the year 2014. The number of illiterate adults enrolled for
Level One in public ABET centre programmes in the province decreased from 10
888 in 2003/04 to 9,649 in 2004/05, whilst the number of full-time equivalent
enrolments in 2003/04 decreased to 47 566 in 2004/05. The throughput of
literacy programmes in the province was 15 891 in 2004/05. Coupled with the
high levels of illiteracy is a high level of poverty as people have no access
to information as they can neither read nor write. Illiteracy and poverty
further lead to exposure to low levels of health, high susceptibility to HIV
and AIDS and related conditions. The Provincial Literacy Programme (PLP) has
been implemented in order to achieve a more significant reduction in
illiteracy. We want this programme to be similar to the Cuban model, which has
proven to be very successful in a number of developing countries. The Cuban
model will be implemented with the guidance of the National Department of
Education. In order to enable adult learners to enter into employment an adult
Senior Certificate programme (Adult Senior Certificate Accreditation) is being
piloted for those adults who are unable to get into formal schooling.

The ABET curriculum is being revised to move away from the rigid academic
trend from ABET level 1 to level 4, which does not necessarily follow the needs
of its clientele and the economy. This will have to be transformed in such a
way that it meets the needs of the adult learners for them to access available
job opportunities in the economy and so improve their socio-economic status.
There should also be more involvement of the broader community and other
stakeholders in the programme. But if the Department and other stakeholders are
to realise the PGDP objective of halving the illiteracy rate by 2014 that is by
551 822 – then 55 182 adults have to be taught to read and write annually. As
mentioned earlier on, the ABET programmes also need to be more effectively
integrated with the programmes of our FET colleges.

Early Childhood Development

Madam Speaker, the budget for this programme will be R69.741 million in the
new financial year – an increase of 75.66% on the 2005/06 funding. The annual
General Household Survey for 2004 indicated a total of 357 907 children in this
age cohort, whilst a total of 845 639 were in the nil to four years cohort.
During 2003/04 the Department catered for 16 798 learners and the number
reached in this Programme during 2004/05 rose to 64 800.

In compliance with ECD White Paper 5, all learners must have gone through a
reception year programme by year 2010 that is in five years time. By 2010 all
primary schools must have a reception (Grade R) class. All community-based
centres must be incorporated into all primary schools. All ECD practitioners
must go through the 2-year practitioner’s course. All approved sites must have
appropriate furniture and equipment. Infrastructure budget to incorporate a
Grade R class for each primary school where necessary

There are now 2 894 ECD sites established in public schools and 2 083 of
these Grade R classes receives the grant in aid. Over 99 012 learners are
accommodated in these Grade R sites. In order to meet the 2010 target of the
White Paper on ECD, the Department has to ensure that the reception class is
provided at all primary schools at a rate of more than 1 657 classrooms per
annum in line with the annual population increase. A key challenge over the
next five years will be to secure funding for increased service delivery and to
start providing the service at the pre-Grade R level (nil to 4 years of age
cohort) with Social Development in line with the Integrated ECD approach. The
ECD community centres could be used to accommodate the nil to four years
cohort.

We welcome the Honourable Minister’s commitment to begin the realisation of
White Paper 5 and specifically the funding norms. However, we are working with
the Minister to develop a solid regulatory framework in line with the White
Paper including the role and status of ECD practitioners, their working
conditions and their remuneration. Government has also decided that launching a
massive ECD initiative will significantly contribute to creating sustainable
employment as part of the EPWP. Based on the afore-mentioned statistics, 1,657
ECD practitioners’ jobs need to be created annually. There are significant
societal benefits from investing in young children in poor communities where
there are low family literacy levels. By investing in the young we will give
them a better chance at surviving schooling and becoming productive
citizens.

HIV and AIDS

The Department’s HIV and AIDS programme is funded by a conditional grant and
co-ordinated with other provincial departmental programmes by the Office of the
Premier. The funding for this programme will be R25.113 million in 2006/07.
Honourable members, the problems encountered in the previous financial year had
been resolved and excellent work has been rendered this year. Due to space and
time constraints only a few highlights will be mentioned.

Consultative meetings were held with 3 000 school principals in preparation
for the establishment of Health Advisory Committees and HIV and AIDS board
games for learners in the cohort 7 to 11 years old. However, the challenge is
to have the programme covered in all schools by ensuring a good advocacy
strategy for the programme. 12 000 Board Games were distributed and 1,802
primary school educators trained. Five-Day workshops were convened in Districts
and 1,851 educators trained as Peer Educators in their respective schools,
whilst 64 educators were trained by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)
on how to support life skills in all 6 304 schools. Schools were targeted for
Peer Education, and with this in mind 251 unemployed youth and 10 004 learners
were trained as Peer Group Trainers. Four cluster forums were formed and out of
52 schools visited 16 established school garden projects. 239 Health Advisory
Committees (HACs) were established and trained by Valley trust and the SA
Cancer Association (CANSA) in nine Districts. To ensure that monitoring and
evaluation is taking place a tender had been invited and awarded. A two-day
planning meeting with the 24 Districts were held and District Co-ordinators
visit schools regularly to check implementation of the programme and to provide
support to schools.

Some of the initiatives to be undertaken in the new financial year, include
600 educators to be trained in the integration of HIV and AIDS and Life Skills,
3 438 educators in the abstinence-based character building Life Skills
programme for the Intermediate Phase (Grade 7), 200 out of school youth as
facilitators, 8 000 peer educators from 800 schools, whilst HACs will be
established and capacitated in an additional 1 500 schools

Service delivery improvement

Madam Speaker, in its quest to deliver exemplary service to all its clients
– both internal and external – the Department of Education, like all other
departments within the public sector, is continuously striving to inculcate the
principles of transforming public service delivery or Batho Pele (People First)
into the thinking of staff and to ensure that it becomes an integral part of
service delivery. My Department is committed to rolling out its service
delivery model articulated in previous plans by establishing fully serviced
District Offices, and the focus has shifted to ensuring that District Offices
are adequately resourced and capacitated. Fully functional district offices
will take services meaningfully closer to the public and be a more efficient
and effective service delivery model. To improve performance management overall
all Senior Managers, including District Directors, will have to sign
performance agreements and be subjected to quarterly performance reviews.

The Department has reviewed and restructured its organogram to streamline
the administrative service delivery processes, and allow the professional staff
to concentrate on providing teaching and learning in the schools. More post
have been provided for our core business curriculum delivery. A project
management and matrix approach will enhance and facilitate teamwork between
Head Office and District Offices. The improvement of communication between Head
Office and District Offices, management basics, performance management systems
and business processes in order to promote service excellence will advantage
the learner, our principal client in particular and the broader community in
the province at large. In this context, the Department increasingly focuses on
an anchor programme, the whole school development for total learner performance
improvement, to which all initiatives and activities must respond. Gradually,
this strategy refocuses our staff, and encourages them to challenge the
existing paradigms. All programmes are subjected to quality assurance processes
to ensure that they benefit the Department’s clients, especially learners and
community members.

We are also required to find increased funding for overall human resource
development, in particular professional development. For this reason we
established the Education Leadership Institute in Stirling, East London (on the
premises of the old Teachers’ Training Centre next to Stirling Secondary
School). A satellite campus will be established in Mthatha since two-thirds of
provincial population reside in the eastern part of the province. The Institute
will not compete with existing HEIs, but will focus on in-service training and
professional development, including management skills for school management
teams. The Department is looking at the Institute in North West as a suitable
model.

Fifty-five dedicated schools have been established in the Maths, Science and
Technology Cluster of schools attached to share resources and cross-pollinate
and formed Maths and Science clubs by the end of the last academic year. A
shortage exists of Subject Advisors to support Maths and Science teachers, but
also of such teachers, especially in rural areas. The Department will undertake
policy development and other initiatives with a view to improving the skills
for the teaching of Maths, Science and Technology. We will consult with our
colleagues in Limpopo where excellent results have been achieved even in rural
schools.

Despite an acute staff shortage in the EMIS Sub-directorate, this section
has performed well compared to other provinces. The requirements of the
National EMIS Plan have been met and the increased budget allocation will be
spent; the budget allocation for the new financial year is R11.636 million.
Work has begun on the learner tracking system in which we are assisted by
colleagues in the Western Cape. Except for the little hitch due to a power
outage at the time (yes our operations are also regularly hit by this), 90% of
the province’s 10th school day statistics was submitted on the required
deadline set by the Minister, except for schools in Fort Beaufort District
where principals were told that EDOs must collect completed survey forms.

The training sessions for the roll-out of the pilot project for the School
Administration and Management System (SAMS) at schools in East London and
Lusikisiki Districts were disrupted late last year. Training has been scheduled
for March 2006, which will form the basis for eAdministration and eEducation or
eLearning. SAMS training is also in progress in Dutywa, Queenstown, Mount
Fletcher, Port Elizabeth and East London (Mdantsane). Data quality improvement
and turnaround time collection and data capturing still require on-going
attention since EMIS is regarded as a national priority project.

Human resource development and filling of posts

The Department has a human resource development strategy in place,
honourable members. Operating manuals have been developed for all processes as
well as policies. The provincial core team was trained in National Curriculum
Statement (NCS) Generic Learning area specifics, and 26 750 Foundation Phase
(FP) educators were put through phase-one training in the planning and
assessment In-service Training (INSET) modules, while 1 825 completed the
classroom and resource management module in phase two by the end of the last
academic year. 884 Cluster Leader teachers were trained for INSET FP
implementation, and a total of 2 173 educators upgraded to the National
Professional Diploma for Educators (NPDE) last year.

Despite the disruption of workshops for the implementation of the NCS and
RNCS (Revised National Curriculum Statement) for Grades 10 and 7, respectively,
192 GET and 242 FET trainers completed their training, whilst 54% of Grade 7
and 71% of Grade 10 teachers were oriented. A mop-up of teacher orientation for
Grades 7 and 10 has been completed at the end of February 2006 Planning has
been finalised for the roll-out of Grades 8, 9, 11 and 12 teacher orientation
in 2006. Provincial orientation material for Grades 8 and 9 and four provincial
curriculum guideline documents developed and circulated to all curriculum
personnel in the province.

Significant improvement has been made regarding the Registry projects. The
filling of 24 senior management posts, including those at the FET colleges
increased the management capacity at these institutions and within the
Department. 78 Posts of Chief and Deputy Chief Education Specialists are in the
process of being filled, together with 295 Principal, 276 Deputy Principal, 957
Head of Department, 53 Secretary and 40 other administrative posts. The role of
the administrative personnel in schools cannot be understated. They provide
meaningful support to teachers and learners both administrative and school
facility maintenance. A process is under way to begin absorbing 2,580 temporary
educators in permanent posts. The Department commits itself to continue to
support teachers who have committed themselves to ensure quality learning in a
safe and secure environment and to provide the care necessary for all
developing children.

Learner performance

At the end of the 2005 school year 134 275 learners in the Foundation Phase
(FP) attained acceptable outcomes in numeracy, literacy/reading and life
skills. The performance of learners in all three Learning areas is generally
low compared to the National Average. The pattern of performance remains
consistent in all three areas across most Districts with the exception of Port
Elizabeth .Graaff-Reinet, Mount Frere and Uitenhage. The highest scores in all
three learning areas were obtained in Cradock and in Graaff-Reinet and the
lowest in Lusikisiki and Maluti. In 80% of schools, learner performance in the
area of Language of Learning and Teaching was low and ranged between “partly
achieved” and “not achieved”. The performance of the learners in Mathematics
was lower than seven of the nine provinces thus indicating that a very small
proportion had achieved the required learning outcomes and were ready for the
next grade. Learners’ scores for Natural Sciences were low, with more than
three quarters of learners performing poorly.

An overall strategy in respect of all the above issues is to ensure a
facilitated enforcement of the adherence to provisions of the policy on contact
time. Policies need to be developed to address causal factors such as educator
attendance of memorial services for deceased colleagues; effective and
efficient co-ordination of training workshops that involve educators; and
effective and efficient co-ordination of educator and learner participation in
extra- and co-curricular activities.

As far as the language policy is concerned, we need to state that the
Department is in favour of learners being taught in their mother tongue or
vernacular. The Honourable National Minister is in favour of at least three
years of study through a learner’s mother tongue in Grades One to Nine but
preferably from Grade One to Six. A pilot project of having exams papers
printed in the vernacular will be launched this year with a view of
establishing whether learners’ comprehension of questions can be improved in
that way.
We will also engage universities in the promotion of indigenous languages,
since we are concerned that the number of students studying indigenous
languages is dwindling.

Madam Speaker, as you are aware one of our Education Districts, Umzimkulu,
now forms part of KwaZulu-Natal since the beginning of this month due to
Constitutional amendments to eliminate cross boundary municipalities. In the
process Matatiele was incorporated into the Eastern Cape and we are now
responsible for 24 schools in that area. All monies that would have benefited
schools in Umzimkulu will not be redirected and all projects for that district
will continue. In terms of a mutual agreement, my Department will continue
administering Umzimkulu until the end of June this year and KZN Department of
Education the 24 schools in Matatiele in order to enable a smooth
transition.

“No-fee” schools

As the Premier announced last month the Education Laws Amendment Act 2005
(Act No 24 of 2005), which was assented to by the President in January 2006,
sanctioned the declaration of “no-fee” schools. This is an extension of
Government’s Free Basic Services package as these schools are in the poorest of
the poor communities or in Quintile One. 2 074 Schools out of 6 304 public
schools or 32.9% in the province will be declared “no-fee schools” from April
this year, if their SGBs concur. Most of these schools are situated in the
Transkei where poverty is most severe. The average amount which can then be
spent on a learner is R526 up from R214 in the current financial year. The
additional total amount is R304 million. Next year the amount available will be
R739 per learner in Quintile One and will be in line with the set adequacy
figure.

Municipal wards have been used as a basis to determine the extent of
deprivation. This works well in our rural areas, but it is problematic in urban
areas where wards cut across income groups. This is why some Districts like
East London, Queenstown and Fort Beaufort for instance have no schools that
qualify for “no-fee” status in the first round of determination. If the PGDP
statistic of 63.6% of households with an income of less than R800 monthly is
taken as a basis about two-thirds of schools in this province, which is nearly
double the aforementioned percentage, should have “no-fee” status. The process
to determine “no-fee” schools is voluntary this year and allows for
contestation, so one can expect more schools to motivate for inclusion in
Quintile One for “no-fee” status.

Due to low systems capacity and lack of staff in the Districts, and lack of
administrative capacity in Section 20 schools, poorer schools have often not
spent their full allocation under the funding norms and standards. Until this
capacity has been fully developed, it will remain a challenge to fully
implement the pro-poor funding provisions of the norms and standards. But the
issue with Section 21 schools is that they neglect to submit audited financial
statement on time. We cannot continue to give huge subsidies without proper
accountability being invoked. The Department will convene a meeting with
auditing firms to look into designing a model which utilise unemployed
accounting students and those still studying to audit the books of Section 21
schools. Service level agreements will be entered into.

Learner-Teacher Support Material (LTSM)

The delivery of LTSM improved significantly during the 2005/2006 delivery
cycle when compared to the previous years. However, the efficiency of the
process could also have improved significantly if the under-mentioned
challenges were proactively anticipated and timely addressed:
* co-ordination, collation and capturing of LTSM requisitions received from
both Section 20 and Section 21 schools;
* data cleansing, verification of data and alignment of requirements with
school paper budgets
* poor assessment and accreditation controls resulting in unsuitable suppliers/
distributors being accepted to perform LTSM deliveries
* insufficient security at some schools making it advisable not to deliver LTSM
before schools close at the end of the academic year
* non-delivery due to causes beyond the Department’s control e.g. impassable
roads due to rain making it impossible to effect deliveries as planned.

In order to minimise the impact of the above-mentioned challenges the
Department:
* gave warning to relevant publishers/distributors to remedy any breach of
contract and terminate contracts if non-performance continues beyond the
stipulated legal period
* requested LTSM publishers / manufacturers to conduct deliveries directly to
schools themselves and bypass non-performing distributors
* shall blacklist the non-performing publishers / distributors to ensure that
they are closed out from participating in future Departmental contracts for a
predetermined period of time.

Eastern Cape Education Advisory Council

Madam Speaker, in keeping with the Government’s commitment to democratic and
participatory governance we intend establishing the Eastern Cape Education
Advisory Council in the near future. We want to emphasise the importance of the
role of civil society in the process of governance that demands a structure and
procedures whereby non-governmental and community-based organisations can
participate in policy and decision-making processes at all levels. We are in
the process of amending the Eastern Cape Schools Act to revise the composition
of this council and had two fruitful meetings with proposed nominees to the
council to discuss the draft regulations and constitution. It is the intention
to launch the Council in May 2006 and we will consult the Council on policies,
legislation and other educational matters in this province. A budget allocation
of R500,000 has been made available for this initiative in 2006/07 and we are
excited about the rapid progress made to date.

Budget allocation

A budget is a financial expression of the planning exercise, which enables
the Department to put into action the plans it has developed. The budget
allocation of the Department will increase from R11.251 million to R13.065
million in 2006/07 or by R1.814 billion. While this increase in funding is
appreciated and welcomed, sight should not be lost that the equitable share
formula does not adequately address the extent of deprivation that especially
our people in Transkei suffered until 1994. We still have significant resource
backlogs! There is a great need for adequate financial, human and physical
resources to enable the Department to deliver on its mandate, mindful of the
historical extent of deprivation in the largest part of the province. While
expenditure grew by only 4.9% and is estimated to grow at 8.3% in 2005/06, the
budget for 2006/07 shows growth of 13.2%.

What we are pleased about is that the 2006/07 financial year will be the
last year of top-slicing of an amount of R350 million from the Department’s
budget allocation. It is my pleasure to present the following budget to you
today:

Administration: R881 902
Public Ordinary Schools: R11 144 848
Independent Schools: R27 770
Public Special Schools: R334 487
Further Education and Training Colleges: R267 965
Adult Basic Education & Training: R149 775
Early Childhood Development: R69 941
Auxiliary Services: R188 334
Total: R13 065 022

The challenge remains to manage the available resources more effectively and
efficiently, and to work towards a more acceptable ratio between personnel and
non-personnel expenditure. The Honourable Minister of Education issued a policy
directive in 1998 that education departments should aim for an 80:20 split
between personnel and non-personnel costs. The Pieter Morkel model of post
provisioning is not supported by all provinces and needs to be revisited to
address the disjuncture between the number of educators and learning
areas/streams and/or subjects. Demands to date that we retain the 1998 post
basket declaration of 68 863 educators has resulted in the Department incurring
over-expenditure over the previous three years from 2001/02 to 2004/05. This
led to cuts in infrastructure and learner-teacher support material (LTSM)
spending or the Department not being able to cross-subsidise the SNP like other
provinces. Gauteng, Northern and Western Cape have achieved even better ratios
such as 70:30 or 68:32 and can thus afford to have well-resourced schools with
laboratories and libraries. Can you appreciate, honourable members, why my
Department and I have resisted this demand last year and will continue to do so
since it is not in the interest of a resource-deprived province and quality
education in this province? More money is needed to build new schools, replace
mud structures, and maintain existing school buildings provide more LTSM and so
forth.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Madam Speaker, the Department of Education must deliver on
providing quality education that could easily be accessed by all citizens for
the duration of their lifetime; it must produce good citizens and the human
resources that are needed for development; it must deliver services to its
clients in an efficient, effective and reliable manner; and it must be a
contributing and productive partner in the efforts of the province to deal with
the development and transformational challenges that are now faced by a new
developmental state. This mandate is as extensive as it is daunting, and as
challenging as it is stimulating. The Department must, however, rise to the
challenge. In doing so, it cannot overlook the realities of the Eastern Cape
province in general, and the scope, issues and challenges which define the
field of play in the education arena

The slight improvement in the 2005 matric results has demonstrated that my
Department is close to turning the corner and beginning to make, as the biggest
provincial department, its rightful contribution in realising the provincial
vision: the Eastern Cape, a compelling place to live, work and invest in! In
conclusion, allow me to repeat our beloved and respected Dr Mandela’s advice:
“Education is the most powerful weapon to change the world!” We, the people of
this province owe it to him and our country to take Education seriously!

Thanks

Madam Speaker, allow me to avail myself of this golden opportunity to once
again express my sincere gratitude to my colleagues in EXCO for their
unwavering support and guidance, and especially to the Premier, the Honourable
Nosimo Balindlela, for her bold leadership and passion for Education. Likewise,
we wish to express appreciation to the National Minister, the Honourable Naledi
Pandor and the National Department for continuing to provide direction and
leadership to the Education Sector in our country, and special word of thanks
also for the deployment of the national management team that completed their
work at the end of last year under the leadership of Dr Chris Madiba. Thanks
must also go to all the members of the Education Portfolio Committee, other
members of this House and the national Council of provinces for their support
and constructive criticism during debates and presentations made to them during
the past year. Furthermore, a word of appreciation and thanks need to be
extended to the Superintendent-General, Dr Dave Edley and his team for making
the Department’s numerous achievements possible this past year. Much hard work
and dedication will still be required of us all in the next few years before
the Department turns the corner. Last but not least, the hard work and
contributions of all Education stakeholders, but more so that of the thousands
of dedicated educators and learners in our schools must be acknowledged with
sincere gratitude since some of them achieve the impossible under very
difficult circumstances.

Thank you so much
Siyabulela
Baie dankie

Issued by: Department of Education, Eastern Cape Provincial Government
6 June 2006